There have been a few attempts to monetize the batters eye in pro ballparks, and here’s the latest: The Schaumburg Boomers (independent; Frontier League) partnered with EYEopener on a new sign technology.
Founded by the team of John Lietzau and Beverly Lietzau with CFO Mike Pechette, EYEopener is an Evanston based startup with a patent pending for a specially designed billboard intended specifically for use in the batters eye hitting background in professional ballparks. The technology enables an advertising message to be displayed in straight-away center field of a ballpark to been seen by spectators, while simultaneously appearing as a black wall to batters and umpires at home plate as they look towards the pitcher throwing the baseball from the pitching mound. The two photos show the signage from different viewpoints.
According to EYEopener CEO John Lietzau, “The EYEopener billboard displays advertisements in center field where they’ve never been seen before, allowing teams to tap into a signage placement in their stadiums that was previously not an option.”
“We’re very excited to be the first team in the country to showcase this innovation,” said Jeff Ney, vice president of the Schaumburg Boomers. “I really think John and the team at EYEopener are on to something here and could have a unique platform for teams throughout the country to utilize for their sponsors message.”
The EYEopener was utilized at the end of the 2015 season; presumably it will be back in 2016.
Most teams leave the batters eye alone, but there are some exceptions: at the Dell Diamond, the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) have a rotating signage that displays ads between innings and goes to black when a team is batting.